Christmas Gifts For Him


It’s this time of the year again! Christmas will be here in no time and I’m excited. So excited that I’ve already started researching ideas for gifts. Of course it would be a shame not to share with you all my finds so far. So here we go, we're starting off this week with some ideas for the men in our lives, which always seem to be the hardest ones to buy for! 


Champagne + Fromage in Covent Garden








I need to tell you about that time I spent a decadent afternoon sipping champaign and tasting various cheeses at a quaint little French bistro in Covent Garden. It was as parfait as it sounds. A lovely treat after a lazy Sunday shopping and Christmas gift-spotting around London (I know, I’m an early bird this year). 

The bistro is called Champagne + Fromage and, well I think you can guess what they specialise in; they stock 25 award-winning French champagnes as well as over 30 different types of cheeses, all from my home country. The bistro itself is very pretty and cosy with wooden floors, rustic-style tables, a big blackboard and a big cheese fridge. Clearly, this is a place after my own heart.

Upon arrival, Rich and I were greeted with a list of their champagnes as well as a menu. They have 5 cheese boards, which is what we had come for, as we wanted to try a few different cheeses. You can also order some of the famous French classics like a baked camembert, snails de Bourgogne or an onion soup for example. 

The cheese boards on the menu are based on types of cheeses: pasteurised, strong, cow, ewe and goat. But you also have the option to pop by their cheese fridge to pick what you’d like to try. That’s the option we went for, as I already knew some of the cheeses on the other boards. We explained to the staff the kind of cheeses that we liked and they then advised us on which ones to try. 

We picked the Bleu de chèvre, which was served with cherries (such a good combo - can't wait to try it again for one of my Apero Fridays), the Gros Sainte-Maure (pretty sure they sprinkled lavender flowers on top, although you couldn’t really taste it) and the Olivet cendré,  which came with some sort of jelly jam cubes. All were really tasty but my favourite one was the blue cheese. That’s no surprise really, as I’ve never met a blue cheese I didn’t like. 

To accompany our cheeses, we had bread (of course) and a bottle of the house champagne, which did not disappoint. I can be a little difficult when it comes to champagne but this one went down really well.

All in all, we had a lovely time and I really can’t recommend this place enough. In fact, the first thing I told Rich after we left was: we’ll have to come back. Seal of approval from a Frenchi! This has got to count for something, right?

TIP: If you just want a cheese board and a bottle of champagne, book through the website Lime & Tonic. It’s a new concept site that sells “experiences”. The offer available costs £25 per person and includes a cheese board of your choice as well as a bottle of the house champagne. This is a really good deal, as a glass of the house champagne costs £10 and you easily get 2 or 3 glasses each (if you’re just 2 people). 

À bientôt my friends!

Champagne + Fromage. 22 Wellington Street. Covent Garden. London. WC2E 7DD

Out and about in Lisbon















This is a little bit of a mishmash post but I really wanted to post some more snaps of our time in Lisbon. Yup, that’s how much I liked it! This will be the last post about this trip though. I’m starting to get into a winter mood now and I’m planning lots of cosy kind of posts. Watch this space…

Anyway, apologies for the photo overload. I tend not to censor myself too much, as I love looking back at the blog at the end of the year and everything Rich and I have done throughout the year. Also, it’s saved me a few times when I’ve had issues with photos in the past. At least, my favourite ones are all stored somewhere online. 


Hope you're all having a lovely weekend! 

Alfama, Lisbon



















One of my favourite areas in Lisbon was the Alfama. It’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and located on a steep heel. You get there by taking the famous Tram 28, which takes you through various districts. When you arrive in the Alfama, it’s like you’ve reached another world. It has such a distinct southern village feel with narrow lanes, hole-in-the-wall type of shops, locals sipping their drinks at a terrace, laundry hanging from the windows… It’s so atmospheric and picturesque. You’ve got to imagine all of these photos with distant fado music in the background, which you can hear from people’s open windows. 

Take me back! 


A weekend guide to Lisbon, Portugal - Part 2


Thank you all so much for the positive feedback on the first part of my weekend guide to Lisbon. I’ve just finished part 2 and here it is! Hope you’ll like it just as much as the first one. :-) 












Sunday

9:00am Join the locals at one of Lisbon’s coffee institution: A Brasileira. It’s one of the oldest cafes in the Chiado area, which is only a few minutes walk from the Lisbon serviced apartments I mentioned in yesterday's post. At A Brasileira, the espressos are usually drank at the counter but there is also a terrace if you’d like to linger for a little longer. 

9:20am Take Tram 15 at Praça da Figueira to Belém  The first thing you absolutely must do upon arrival is to pop by Antiga Confeitaria de Belém for some Pasteis de Belém. There's a reason why there's an endless queue there every day. Their pasteis are amazing! Ask for some cinnamon to sprinkle on top. Trust me, you're going to love it! 

10am Further along is one of Lisbon’s main sights: the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The building is impressive to look at with gorgeous views over leafy gardens and the rio tejo. But to me, the real highlight is the  gorgeous cloister. There are so many details for you to try and spot like gargoyles and weird creatures. It's well worth the visit. 

11:30am Wander through Praça do Império towards the river and walk along the riverfront. You’ll get to see the Padrão dos Descobrimentos  which is a tribute to the age of discovery. It features Vasco de Gama and other famous explorers. You’ll also get to see some Ponte 25 de Abril and lots of boats sailing. It’s a very lively place to be on a sunny day. People are biking, roller-blading or simply strolling along. You’ll want to walk until your reach the tower de Belém. After your walk, head towards the Museu Coleção Berardo, which is a must-see if you’re into modern and contemporary art.

1pm Este Oaeste is a great cafe withing the Museu Berardo. They do pizzas, sushis and the most amazing salads. You can eat inside - the interior is very modern and trendy - or outside for a view over the river. 

2pm It is now time to explore the Museu Berardo and all it has to offers. I found their collection of pop art in particular rather impressive with works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

3:30pm Our next move is slightly extravagant but oh well you’re only around for a weekend so you might as well make the most of it. Catch a taxi at the riverfront to go to Sintra (cost will be around €30). It’s a beautiful colourful town a few kilometres away from Lisbon. It’s extraordinarily quaint and renowned for its fairytale-like castle with two huge white cone chimneys. It’s great to go either very early or fairly late as there is a constant flow of visitors. It closes at 5.30pm so this is perfect timing if you head there for around 4pm. 

6pm Once you’ve visited the castle, make sure to take your time to explore the tiny alleyways and gardens drenched in golden light. You’ll want to go uphill for a better view and to see the stunning Pena National Palace. On your way down, take your peek from one of the restaurants around for dinner. 

9pm Downhill is the train station. There are trains departing regularly from Sintra to Rossio station in Lisbon. The price of the ticket is €2.20 and the journey takes 40 minutes.





Monday

9am Last morning in Lisbon, make the most of it! Start by a lovely french-inspired breakfast (or some more custard tarts) at the Eric Kayser boulangerie a few minutes away from the apartment. Order some tartines or cakes and a coffee. Grab a table by the window if you’re in the mood for some people watching. 

9:30am Head to the fashionable Chiado area for some last-minute shopping. You will be spoiled for choice with boutiques and larger stores stocking everything from clothing to porcelains, jewellery and other artefacts to bring back from your travels. There are also plenty of coffee places if you want to have a rest. 

12pm Back at the hotel, pick up your bags and make your way to Praça da Figueira to catch a taxi to the airport. The departures area for Ryan Air/Easy Jet doesn’t have many shops and restaurants so get yourself something in town before going to the airport. 

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